Someone sent us the Associated Press' guidelines for staff social networking and, in keeping with company tradition, they're on the paranoid side. You should probably read them, since basically everyone in the world must now follow them.

The AP's Facebook and Twitter policies are less draconian than, say, Bloomberg's, but that's not saying much. They do sound, on the whole, reasonable, until you stop and ponder a few of the specifics.

For example, the organization says every comment on a staffer's Facebook profile should meet AP guidelines, because who can tell the difference between commenters and the original author??

It's a good idea to monitor your profile page to make sure material posted by others doesn't violate AP standards; any such material should be deleted.

And you, office supply assistant in the back! This applies to you too!

We cannot expect people outside the AP to know whether a posting on Facebook was made by someone who takes pictures, processes payroll checks or fixes satellite dishes.

Also, remember to distribute links fairly to the hundreds of members, and always be selling:

Link to member and customer sites instead and try to vary the links to spread the traffic around... It's a good idea to reference the AP in the promo language, i.e. Just how much geek can be chic? Test your fashion IQ with this interactive game (AP):

Finally, no craven political posturing on social networks. That's what emails are for!

Memo below:

(Photo by Stephen Pruitt)